The History of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) – 新日本プロレス – Part 2: Inoki-Ism


The History of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) – 新日本プロレス – Part 2: Inoki-Ism
Hey guys, it’s finally time for part 2 of my History of NJPW highlight video. First off, I have to say that I was blown away by how popular part 1 was and really appreciate all your kind words!

Watch part 1 first:

If you want to go back even further, watch my mini-documentary on Rikidozan and the birth of puroresu here:

Now, part 2 is a bit different. I tried to cram almost 30 years of history into part one, whereas part two focuses on one very specific era. And boy, was it a doozy: I’m talking about Inoki-Ism. Given the MMA boom starting in the late 90’s, Inoki tried to rekindle NJPW’s popularity by going back to his “King of Sports” rules and booking a bunch of his top guys in real MMA fights against real fighters. Did that work out well for NJPW? Well, take a look for yourself.
Either way, Inoki-Ism was an incredibly fascinating era full of bizarre events, many more than I could ever get into in this video. Read up on Bob Sapp vs Kazuyuki Fujita, for example. Inoki’s cult of personality was also in full effect and led to some of the most bizarre segments imaginable.

I tried to really emphasize the narrative and story-telling part by providing a bunch of additional information, so hopefully the overall story should be pretty easy to grasp. However, it is still an attempt to condense years and years of NJPW’s trajectory into a short video, so of course there’s tons of stuff I had to leave out. Hashimoto vs Ogawa was an important precursor that I covered briefly in part one, for example. I mainly focused on the whacky and bizarre Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye events where the actual MMA fights took place, but trust me, there’s a lot more to explore. And you could have made a couple more movies on the intertwined nature of MMA and pro-wrestling in Japan, which I hinted at in the intro. It’s all incredibly fascinating to me, and well worth reading up on.

If you want to find out even more, here are some worthwhile sources:

Voice-over clips taken from the following sources:
Joe vs The World #9, Japan 2006 in review
Wrestling with the Past #9
Figure 4 Daily w/ Jonathan Snowden (1/27/08)

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